September 29, 2013



OPENINGS:  Once it became clear that the predicted $40M wasn’t going to happen, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (Sony) badly wanted to claim a $35M opening, and so it did.  Actually hitting that number will require the 2d lowest Sunday drop in the Top 10 (behind only the phenomenal Instructions Not Included, one of the strongest Sunday performers in history), and we’ll find out tomorrow if it gets there.  Even at $35M, Cloudy 2 is well behind last year’s $42.5M September opening for Hotel Transylvania, which didn’t have the advantage of a sequel’s fan base.

RUSH (Universal) never got over the hump of being about a subject few Americans knew or cared about (a duel between European Formula One racers in the 1970s), and studio marketing has to take some of the hit for that.  The mediocre $10.3M opening is also a reminder that in this era, franchise stars like Liam Hemsworth are only stars when they’re wearing the costume (and in his case, carrying the shield).  Foreign revenues may make up for the US shortfall.

BAGGAGE CLAIM (Fox Searchlight) got a high A-minus CinemaScore grade from opening night respondents, while DON JON (Relativity) had a dismal C-plus, so once word of mouth spread after their nearly identical $3.3M Fridays, of course Baggage Claim won the weekend… by $300K ($9.3M to $9M).  Can we all stop pretending these grades mean anything?

HOLDOVERS:  PRISONERS (Warners) held well, down 46% to $11.3M, but that’s not an exceptional number, and it’s likely to be hit next weekend by the arrival of studio-mate Gravity.  It may be out of the limelight before October is done, which will make for a tougher road in awards season.  Still, a $70M or so US total for such a tough, lengthy drama is still a fine result.

INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 (FilmDistrict) fell another 51% (to $11.1M), crying all the way to the bank about its bad reviews with a $80M US total in sight.  INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED (Lionsgate/Televisa), down just 37% to $3.4M, is now the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie of all time in the US (at $38.6M), and #5 on the list of all foreign-language releases–the most astonishing success story of the year.  WE’RE THE MILLERS (Warners) and THE BUTLER (Weinstein) also continued to hold well, respectively down 37% to $2.9M and down 42% to $2.4M.  At $142.4M, Millers is the 2d-biggest comedy of the year, behind only The Heat ($158.8M).

LIMITED RELEASE:  An exceptionally quiet fall weekend for indies.  ENOUGH SAID (Fox Searchlight) had a successful expansion to 227 theatres, with a $9K per-theatre average.  METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER (Picturehouse) in its 1-week IMAX run (before Gravity takes over most of those screens) had a $5500 average at 305.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."